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DNA clues to Queen of Sheba tale
BBC ^ | 21 June 2012 | Helen Briggs

Posted on 06/23/2012 9:34:37 PM PDT by Theoria

Clues to the origins of the Queen of Sheba legend are written in the DNA of some Africans, according to scientists.

Genetic research suggests Ethiopians mixed with Egyptian, Israeli or Syrian populations about 3,000 years ago.

This is the time the queen, mentioned in great religious works, is said to have ruled the kingdom of Sheba.

The research, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, also sheds light on human migration out of Africa 60,000 years ago.

According to fossil evidence, human history goes back longer in Ethiopia than anywhere else in the world. But little has been known until now about the human genetics of Ethiopians.

Professor Chris Tyler-Smith of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, a researcher on the study, told BBC News: "Genetics can tell us about historical events.

"By analysing the genetics of Ethiopia and several other regions we can see that there was gene flow into Ethiopia, probably from the Levant, around 3,000 years ago, and this fits perfectly with the story of the Queen of Sheba."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: 18thdynasty; africa; catastrophism; dna; egypt; ethiopia; godsgravesglyphs; hatshepsut; helixmakemineadouble; israel; sheba

Not out of Sheba

Liya Kebede, Credit

There is a new paper, Ethiopian Genetic Diversity Reveals Linguistic Stratification and Complex Influences on the Ethiopian Gene Pool, which is being sensationalized in the media. For example, the BBC headline: ‘DNA clues to Queen of Sheba tale’. I assumed that this was just the media, but to my surprise the authors themselves mention the ‘Sheba tale’ in their discussion for various reasons. This is unfortunate. Though it is true Ethiopians have a legend of descent from the queen of Sheba (and through her relationship to king Solomon the ancient Hebrews), if there is a scholarly consensus about the location of Sheba, it is probably in southwest Arabia (i.e., modern Yemen). But the reality is that it is probably just as likely that the story in the Hebrew Bible is an interleaved synthesis of legend and reality, and that disentangling the nuggets of truth so as to establish the location of the real Sheba is going to be impossible (it is just as likely that the real queen of Sheba, if she existed, was a Levantine notable who was given a more exotic provenance by the redactors of the Hebrew Bible).

As for the paper itself, it is of some interest. I’ve blogged and analyzed Ethiopian data myself, but the sample coverage here is awesome. Additionally, the authors attempted to ascertain time since admixture in relation to the Ethiopian population for their West Eurasia and African ancestral components, as well as sniffing around for signatures of selection in the genome. The highlights:

In terms of selection, I am curious about what they found in the regions around the highland adaptation loci. One might predict that these regions should be enriched for indigenous African ancestry if the alleles are old. In contrast, if the alleles are newly arisen in the genetic background then there is no expectation that they should exhibit bias in their local genomic ancestry. The high frequency of SLC24A5 in a tropical population with West Eurasian ancestry is not surprising. South Indians have the derived variant on the order of ~50% frequency as well. The authors speculating about sexual selection seems like a deus ex machina. If sexual selection was strong for the derived variant and light skin then the allele should have become decoupled from the rest of the genome in terms of phylogeny (spreading to populations with lower levels of West Eurasian ancestry).

Two major criticisms. First, I am not clear that the comparison with non-African Ethiopian genomes was with the non-African genomes of the non-Sub-Saharan African populations. To get at what I’m saying, if you compare the West Eurasian ancestry of Ethiopians with various West Eurasian groups, then the proportion of West Eurasian ancestry in those groups is going to effect your Fst. Non-Jewish Yemenis have a high load of Sub-Saharan African ancestry. The relative closeness of the non-African component of the Ethiopians to Egyptians and Bedouins may simply be a function of the lower African ancestral load in these populations in comparison to the Yemenis. If the authors found greater genetic distance from Yemeni Jews I would be much more convinced, because the Jewish population in Yemen has a far lower proportion of African admixture than the non-Jews.

Second, like Dienekes I am not quite sure of ROLLOFF’s power in terms of generating a good peg for the time of admixture in this chronological window of time. The recent admixture events (e.g., North Africa, African Americans) are obviously right. But is it plausible that large numbers of West Eurasians were pushing their way into the highlands of Ethiopia as late as ~3,000 years ago? Perhaps. The depictions by Egyptians of the people of Punt seem to suggest they were of mostly West Eurasian ancestry. It could be that ~4,000 years ago the admixture had not been so thoroughgoing. There are two reasons I’m skeptical though. First, if there is one part of the world where we have some documentation of population movements ~3,000 years ago, it is the Near East. All we have to go on at this point is ROLLOFF. Second, like Dienekes I think we should be careful about relying on ROLLOFF alone. I have a hard time accepting ROLLOFF’s estimate for the admixture between West Eurasians and indigenous ancestral Indians ~3-4,000 years ago as well. Rather, I think that ROLLOFF is either biased toward underestimating the admixture time, or, picks up the last major pulses and misses the “peaks” of admixture. I would push both Ethiopian and Indian admixture events back several thousand years at least from what ROLLOFF is implying (or, perhaps more precisely, the inferences that some researchers make from ROLLOFF).

Frieda Pinto, Credit

Which brings me to an interesting point: there are strange correspondences between the demographic history of Ethiopia and South Asia. In both situations you have a population which seems to have arisen out of a balanced admixture between a distinctive indigenous population and a West Eurasian group which was intrusive. The ancient and medieval Western thinkers sometimes confused Ethiopia and India because of their marginal geographical position in relation to the Mediterranean world and the existence of dark-skinned people in both locales. The Greeks did differentiate though between the lighter skinned Indians of the north and the darker skinned ones of the south, with the latter resembling Ethiopians the most, except that their hair form was not curly (in reality, “north” would be the Punjab and Sindh, while the “south” would be Kerala and Tamil Nadu, because of the nature of Greek commerce and trade). Today some South Indians apparently get confused for being Ethiopian, and no doubt the reverse occurs, especially for women who straighten their hair somewhat.

That’s all I’ll say for now. The data is online, in convenient pedigree format. So I’ll be weighing in more in the near future….

1 posted on 06/23/2012 9:34:48 PM PDT by Theoria
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To: SunkenCiv

Sheba, Ethiopia, ping.

2 posted on 06/23/2012 9:35:48 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Theoria


3 posted on 06/23/2012 9:47:52 PM PDT by rightwingcrazy
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To: rightwingcrazy

The Legend of Little Sheba:

Little Sheba, she’s the favorite one

Everybody’s got money on her nine to one

They raise them gals on gator, now doncha know?

4 posted on 06/23/2012 10:05:58 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (Free the Zimmermans. . . end this political, racist travesty of a "prosecution")
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To: blam

ping...good genes...bad genes...and then there is the Queen of Sheba gene pool

5 posted on 06/23/2012 10:24:40 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum)
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To: Theoria
...the real queen of Sheba, if she existed...

Haile Selassie Was a direct descendant Don't you know. /s I suppose most all of Africa claims to be descended from her.

I wouldn't question the Bible's historical accuracy, Just the motivation and bias of those souls still constantly compelled to try to refute it a few thousand years later. It sounds like they're fighting more than just an old book to me.

I worked with an atheist who always said "Jesus Christ" as a curse word. I asked him why. He laughed and claimed it was because God had asked us not to take his name in vain. I pointed out that it sure sounded like rebellion coming from somebody who alleges there is no God. He was speechless for a rare moment.

6 posted on 06/24/2012 12:41:18 AM PDT by ME-262 (We need Term Limits for the federal house and senate. We need new Bums up there.)
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To: Tainan; blam

Good genes, bad genes, you know I’ve had my share, one of Solomon’s babes was from Africa, and the DNA is rare...

7 posted on 06/24/2012 5:40:57 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: SunkenCiv
...and I still don't seem to care.

I saw those bad boys at the Filmore West in Frisco in 1969. (Most favorite concert ever)

8 posted on 06/24/2012 6:11:46 PM PDT by blam
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Theses for the Reconstruction of Ancient History

40. Queen Sheba is identical with Queen Hatshepsu[t].

41. The information of Josephus that the queen-guest ruled Egypt and Abyssinia, is correct.

42. The theories which place Punt and God’s Land in either South Arabia or Africa are equally wrong. Hatshepsu[t]’s expedition, pictured in the temple of Deir el Bahari near Thebes, went to Palestine-Phoenicia.

44. A preliminary expedition dispatched by Hatshepsu[t] to prepare the way for the main expedition, was met by Peruha, the biblical Paruah, governor of Ezion-Geber.

45. The correction of the verses I Kings 4, 16-17 which place Aloth in the domain of the son of Paruah, is well founded.

46. Queen Hatshepsu[t] participated personally in the main expedition to Ezion-Geber, Jerusalem, and Phoenicia. Her intention was to see what she had known “by hearsay” only.

47. The return voyage was made by sea from the Palestinian shore to Thebes on the Nile, and a second fleet was used. In the days of Hatshepsu[t] there was no canal connecting the Nile with the Red Sea.

48. Jewish officers in the service of Solomon are portrayed on the walls of Deir El Bahari.

49. Exotic animals and plants, including the algum-trees “never seen before”, which Queen Hatshepsu[t] received as gifts in God’s Land, had been brought by the navy of Hiram and Solomon from Ophir. They are seen in the pictures of the expedition.

50. Gifts were also presented to Hatshepsu[t] by messengers of Hiram.

New Evidence for Ages in Chaos
The Queen of Sheba and the Land of Punt


...12. Isaiah 66:19; cf. Psalm 72:10: “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba shall offer gifts.”

How I Arrived at My Concepts

I knew of course of the el-Amarna tablets, found in King Akhnaton’s short-lived capital, that contain the royal correspondence of the late Eighteenth Dynasty,(3) but I had never read the text of the tablets. I remember going to the library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the expectation of finding in those tablets letters of king Jehoshaphat of Jerusalem, of king Ahab of Samaria, and of the kings Ben-Hadad and Hazael of Damascus—and I found them there. Similarly I went to the library on Forty-second Street, and Elisheva, my wife, who participated with me in my searches, brought from the shelves the description of the “Punt” expedition of Queen Hatshepshowe (Hatshepsut) who, according to my calculations, must have been the Biblical Queen [of] Sheba. The historian Josephus Flavius described her as the queen “of Egypt and Ethiopia.” I expected to see in the reliefs reproduced in that book how the Israelites of the time of Solomon looked, and almost with trepidation I opened the volume. Next I expected to see the treasures of Solomon’s temple as the booty of Thutmose III, who followed Hatshepsut on the throne, and in the historical atlas of Egyptian archaeology by Wreszinski I saw pictures of the sacred furniture and utensils of Solomon’s temple, even in the same numbers as described in the Scriptures. All these finds were made by me in a matter of days in June 1940.

The Reconstruction of Ancient History

King David fought the remnants of the Amalekites; his marshal Joab invaded Arabia, while Amenhotep I ruled in Egypt; Solomon accordingly had to be a contemporary of Thutmose I and of Hatshepsut; I could establish that this queen came to Jerusalem and had reliefs depicting her journey to the Divine Land carved on the walls of her temple at Deir el-Bahari. In Hebrew history and legend she lives as the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon.

The next generation saw Thutmose III invade Judea, sack the palace and temple of Jerusalem, and impose a tribute on the now-divided country. The furnishings of the Temple, carried away by Thutmose, were depicted by him on a temple wall in Karnak. These depictions match the Biblical record of some of the Temple furnishings.

Amenhotep II was identified with the king whom an ancient epic poem portrayed as leading an enormous army against the city of Ugarit, only to be pursued to the Sinai Desert. He was further shown to be the alter ego of the Scriptural Zerah, whose enterprise started similarly and ended identically.

9 posted on 06/24/2012 7:08:52 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: Fred Nerks; 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; ...
Thanks Theoria. One of *those* topics.

10 posted on 06/24/2012 7:08:52 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: Theoria; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Theoria.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.

11 posted on 06/24/2012 7:10:03 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: Theoria

Saba(Sheba?) in Yemen was periodically united with Ethiopia across the Red Sea and ruled by Ethiopians.

12 posted on 06/24/2012 8:24:52 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (Khach hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Theoria

Back during the time of the Ethiopian civil war and the Communist Haile Mariam Mangistu there were several families of Ethiopian Refugees here for a few months and I interacted with them in a series of ESL classes held at the public library. They were a fascinating group of people, more intellectual than the rest of us and in skin tone ranging from medium to very dark with positively English faces. Because of meeting them I subscribed to an emigré journal that was about 2/3 in English and the rest in Amharic. I couldn’t read the Amharic but the other part was fascinating. It was full of articles by expatriate revolutionaries discussing the troubles in the homeland and what sort of society they wished to set up once they got rid of the madman in Adis Ababa. I kept the subscription for several years and it was like a history-in-progress source. Then the articles started to change in tone as the writers began to realize that they were not going to have any hand in forming the new society and government because they were not there and it was happening without them. The magazine issues got thinner and the cover went from glossy to newsprint, frequency from monthly to quarterly and after a couple more issues it ceased. I have maintained my fascination with the country that has a parody of a Medieval European history and place names right out of Lord of the Rings.

13 posted on 06/24/2012 8:40:55 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (Khach hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: blam

Frisco is in Texas.

The Filmore West is in San Francisco, CA. Californians hate to hear “The City” called Frisco. If it is too much trouble to pronounce, or write, San Francisco, just call it “The City”. Everyone in CA will know what you mean.

Of course, in recent years, “The City” has lost a lot of its lustre. Recent, meaning the last 50.

14 posted on 06/25/2012 6:32:56 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic
I know as I lived in the SF Bay area for a number of years. I was just being lazy.

Also, I retired from TI (Texas) so I 've been to Frisco too.

I presently live on the west bay, Mobile.

15 posted on 06/25/2012 7:00:05 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

I knew you knew because you are an exceptionally literate and educated man. I only said that for the edification for others who throw the “Frisco” term around, as if they really knew The City. As if calling it “Frisco” makes them seem sophisticated when really it betrays them as name droppers who drop the wrong name!

Of course The City is nothing like it was during my youth. It has long since ceased to be a place where I aspire to live. I left that desire behind in my twenties. LOL.

16 posted on 06/25/2012 7:09:12 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic
" I left that desire behind in my twenties. LOL."

Me too. I left in 1973 when I was just turning 30, with long hair.(ahem)

Something you didn't know:

""San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" is a song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie.[1] It was written and released in 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival."

It took Phillips 20 minutes to write the song for his friend McKenzie...a one hit wonder for McKenzie.

17 posted on 06/25/2012 7:22:37 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

I moved to TX in 1973 and have never looked back. I was just in CA (dealing with my Mom who broke her leg at almost 99). I hated every minute of it and couldn’t wait to return to WI. I have to go back soon and dread the trip.

It struck me how NOISY the place is. For a bunch of greenies who are against all types of pollution, I guess they’ve never considered NOISE pollution.

18 posted on 06/25/2012 9:25:59 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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